A former IBM developer has pled guilty to stealing trade secrets for the Chinese government.
Fortune reports that a former IBM developer, Xu Jiaqiang, pled guilty to stealing industry secrets “to benefit the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China.” according to the Justice Department. Jiaqiang also reportedly tried to sell secret IBM source code to two undercover FBI agents, it was not stated whether this was in an attempt to earn money for himself or the Chinese government.
Jiaqiang reportedly demonstrated the stolen software for those interested in buying it. The software increases computer performance by distributing workloads across multiple servers, creating a network of computers all working on a single task. Jiaqiang would demonstrate this on a sample network and acknowledged that the software was stolen from IBM but assured buyers that he could create a computer script to mask the origins of the software.
Jiaqiang is a Chinese national that studied computer science at the University of Delaware. He is set to be sentenced on October 13th. Although the justice department does not specifically name IBM as the affected company, simply referring to them in their press release as “the Victim company,” Jiaqiang’s LinkedIn page shows that he worked for the tech firm as a file system developer during the relevant dates mentioned by the justice department.
Chinese nationals have previously carried out espionage against US American companies, in 2014 five Chinese hackers were charged by the Justice Department for targeting U.S. nuclear and solar energy firms. The Justice Department also charged three others for hacking U.S. law firms in an attempt to trade insider information that they had obtained.
IBM did not respond to a request for comment from Fortune relating to Jiaqiang.